“The doctrine that man is totally depraved does not mean that he is totally corrupt….while seeking to please himself, a man may do things that are morally attractive and beautiful….He is as truly depraved as the man who chooses the immoral things, but his tastes are not as corrupt…” (ref#30, p62,63).
John Owen further identifies depravity:
“…persons who know not Christ…would spin a holiness out of their own bowels; they would work it out in their own strength. They begin by trying endeavors; and follow it with vows, duties, resolutions, engagements, sweating at it all the day long….” (ref#35, p333).
The Apostle Paul laments over his sisters and brothers of Israel who spin their own holiness. He says:
“I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law” (Rom 10:2-3 NLT).
It can be easy to find pride in being moral—self-ordering activities toward righteousness. Take my eyes off CHRIST and I’ll fall into striving to be good. I know my righteousness is only through the SPIRIT by faith (Gal 5:5). FATHER, I want to stay with the SPIRIT.
Bring me to examine my own enthusiasm for You. Am I joyful and content being in fellowship with CHRIST and enthusiastic about His agenda? Or is it satisfying enough to just choose and accomplish good works. Help me search my heart, LORD, do I really love You or do I simply love to appear righteous?